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Preaching by: John J. Malone, Sr - JABSBG*

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Is God Fair to Command Faith? - Comments (0)

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Author: John Malone
Date: 6th December, 2004 @ 07:52:16 AM

In Acts 17:30, there is a most remarkable statement by the apostle Paul to the intelligentsia of his day who gathered on Mars Hill:

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent ..”

“Repent” (meta-noia) means to “change” the “mind.” Paul says God commands “all men everywhere” to change their minds, and no longer tolerates their ignorance.

After this statement, Paul preaches to them the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, at which they scoff, and then they dismiss him.

We would not think it “fair” of God to command faith in Christ by those ignorant of Him. There was a “time of this ignorance” but that time was before God set Him forth as the Son of God in power by the {resurrection out from the dead.|Rom 1:4} Since He has presented Jesus Christ alive from the dead, God no longer excuses men for their ignorance, but commands a change of mind, and therefore faith in Him.

One may rightly ask: “How can He do that, unless He has provided a remedy for their ignorance? What principle has changed such that God once winked at the ignorance, no longer does so?”

This answer, of course, is that God has provided unimpeachable factual material that places the responsibility of the ignoramus squarely on his own shoulders!

The Lord Jesus, in John 3:18-19 says:

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Therefore, the one who does not believe has his own internal motivation for not doing so. He LOVES darkness instead of light, because his deeds are evil. He wants to nurture his evil deeds and keep them from the light. This is something we know about the one who does not believe, simply because the Bible says so.

This is the natural state of every man, self-condemned before God because he is entirely dishonest about the truth concerning himself. He has his own agenda, and that is to conceal and nurture his own evil deeds. Indeed: man is like a waterbug or a cockroach scrambling for the corners when the lights go on.

So, unbelief is, at its essence, dishonest. We see this dishonesty in the arrogant Athenians who merely scoffed at the fact of the Lord’s resurrection from the dead” loving darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Faith in Jesus Christ, on the other hand, is not like that at all. Faith examines the facts set before it, and becomes persuaded.

What facts does God set before man, concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Indeed, he sets forth many. The empty tomb, the undisturbed grave clothes, the first hand accounts of those who saw him alive.

Indeed, the Scriptures calls these evidences {“many infallible proofs”|Acts 1:3} by which Jesus Christ showed himself alive to those he had chosen to subsequently evidence these “proofs” abroad to every land, nation, tribe and tongue.

So God fairly commands faith. He is equal to the task of informing the ignorant. It is the willfully ignorant sinner who wants to nurture and indulge himself in his sin who is “intellectually dishonest.”

Know this, sinner, that your determined and willful ignorance of the truth concerning Jesus Christ is something for which, one day, you will give account.

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